Here, two of the main characters, Donnie and Alex (aka The Claw) are heading back to Edina Street after spending Christmas with their families in the north.
“Check the size of those flakes. It’ll ease off after Pitlochry, I bet. Most likely
turn to rain by Perth.”
I take the tin foil off the cheese sandwiches and offer Alex a piece.
“Ta,” he grunts. Takes a huge bite. “Tuesday the day innit?”
“Wednesday is it no? The 30th. New Year’s on Friday. The Hogger’s the morn.”
“Christ, aye. I think you’re right. Hard to keep track of things at this time of
“To hear ya, you’d think your diary was normally choc-a-block with appointments. I got a new one for Christmas myself. It’ll come in handy for remembering to sign on every fortnight.”
“So will my Biker Chicks 1990 calendar .”
“That’ll keep you busy for a while... in the wankpit, like.”
“Aye, right... It’s pretty cool watching snow fall, eh? Especially after a doobie or
“When you’re inside looking out at it, aye. But I’m sure that cunt of a driver’s switched the heating off down this end. I wouldna fancy being snowbound if this bus gets stuck, like.”
“Maybe we’d get put up in a hotel, Donnie.”
“Courtesy of Intercity? You’re joking aren’t ya? I suppose you’ll be expecting a cooked breakfast in the morning as well?”
“Dinna talk about scran. You’re giving me the munchies. You still buzzing?”
“Nah, it had worn off by Aviemore.”
“Is there another piece?”
“Fuck’s sake. I only had two sandwiches.”
“Cut in triangles, ya bender!”
“My Mam made them, didn’t she.”
“Christ. Can’t even sort out your ain piecebox, eh?”
“Oh. Listen to you! Since you got that side job as a kitchen assistant at La Cave you think you’re fucking Delia Smith. You’ll be complaining that it’s Scottish Cheddar next and no Camembert.”
“Speaking of cheese, look at that wee cottage over there. All on its tod. Middle of nowhere. I wonder who lives in a house like that?”
“Canna see Loyd fucking Grossman making his way up here to find out anyway. Where do they go for their shopping round here? That’s what I want to know.”
“Not fucking Safeways that’s for sure. Maybe they live off the land.”
“What? They’re under two feet of fucking snow. What do you think they cultivate out here, like? Mr Freeze ice poles? I’d be surprised if anything grows. Even in summer... Maybe they go to Dalwhinnie city for their messages.”
“At least there’s whisky there. We passed a distillery, eh?”
“Grim around here, so it is. Nothing else to do but get pished.”
The Claw sparks up a post-meal straight and offers me one from his pack of JP Specials.
“Run out of fags on the bus and yer up shit creek,” he says.
“Without the proverbial paddle... Are we gonna run out, like?”
“Jesus. We’re no even halfway to Edinburgh yet.”
“See that loch over there. Which one’s that? Can’t be Loch Ness?”
“You’re spot on.... It can’t be Loch Ness. For fuck’s sake, Alex. Not even close. You’ve been to Loch Ness, haven’t ya? Over the river and out the Fort William road? We only had a wee smoke. Are you that much of a lightweight that you thought that was the route we took out of Snecky bus station?”
“I wasna paying much attention, like. And the last time I went to Loch Ness was with the school. What loch is it then, brainbox? Tell us. You’re the one with the O’Grade in geography.”
“I’m no totally sure. Loch Laggan... or Ericht maybe.”
The Claw pulls his Belstaff up over his neck and bearded chin.
“I’m gonna chill for a bit,” he says.
Nothing else for it on this bus in this weather...